But I am just a pilgrim on this road, boys
Until I see you fare thee well
-Steve Earle, Pilgrim

Friday, October 21, 2011

2012 Brevet Schedule Posted

The RUSA brevet schedule is posted  HERE. The Springfield brevets, which are run through the St. Louis region, will be:

200K - March 24
300K - April 14

The routes will be the same as last year. There is some interest in riding a Flèche from Republic to Grain Valley, MO, on April 20 or 21. A Flèche is a 24-hour, team ride of 360K (224 miles). A team is composed of three to five riders. A tandem counts as one rider. The rules are available HERE. Getting everyone back to Springfield is usually the biggest problem, although I can setup a permanent (about 200K) so we can get credit for riding back. Let me know if you are interested.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Flint Hills 225K Revisited

I last rode this permanent in August 2009. Like that time, Spencer Klaassen (#1989) got the riders together for Saturday's ride. On the drive up Friday evening, I went through the roundabout north of Paola, KS, where we almost made a wrong turn on the 400K brevet in the Spring. When I arrived at the US Corp campground on Council Grove Lake, a bald eagle flew off from a tree along the lake. After I set up my tent, I went to eat at the Hays House in Council Grove because I was not expecting Spencer and Terry Beasley (#7067) until after dark. When I got back, I read a book until the sun set as the quarter moon rose over the lake. Spencer and Terry arrived about 20:30. It was a clear, cool night-great for camping out.

We started breaking camp about 5:00 Saturday and stopped at a bakery cafe for breakfast. I told the waitress we were in a hurry, but the cook burnt part of our breakfast and had to make it again, so we were running late. Mike Myers (#413) called my cell phone while we were still at the cafe to make sure he and his wife Nancy (#414) were at the right start time and location. I told him we would be there shortly. Mike said that he was told a bridge was being replaced near Strong City. A patron at the cafe told us KDOT had been working on the bridge for some time and should be pretty well along, but there was just a short detour if we could not get across.

We were scheduled to start the permanent at 6:30, but I think it was about 6:50 before we actually got away with the clear sky beginning to brighten. I was a little cool at the start with a short-sleeve wool jersey, wool knee and arm warmers, RUSA wind vest and a balaclava. The first eight or ten miles of the route on K177 is a series of hills, and I warmed up quickly from the climbs.

The bridge was still being replaced north of Strong City, but we were able to walk across. South of Cottonwood Falls, KDOT was also replacing a couple of culverts. Signs said "Pavement Ends", but the temporary bypasses were roughly paved and we were able to ride through. It was game day in Manhattan, and we were passed by a number of cars heading north with their Wildcat flags flying. We were also passed by numerous trains along the tracks that paralleled and crossed the route.

The wind began to pick up after we left Matfield Green. It was generally out of the southeast and mostly a cross wind until we turned west into El Dorado. On the way down, we stopped at the c-store in Cassoday where a man rode up on a bicycle he had converted to run on a gas engine. He said it was his second conversion, and while we were talking another man rode up on the first one he had built. We arrived in El Dorado about noon. We had a short break at the Casey's General Store before heading back.

North of Matfield Green, Spencer had problems with one of his pedals and lost several of the bearings. He squeezed a bunch of grease around the pedal spindle to replace the bearings and was able to get back to Council Grove without further problems. We took the detour out of Strong City to miss the bridge work. It was probably quicker riding the detour than walking through the bridge construction earlier. Even though I had taken off most of my extra clothes, I began to overheat after Strong City and slowed down somewhat. I made it back to Council Grove at 17:19, about ten minutes behind the others.

Flint Hills 225K Route

Camp site at Council Grove Lake

Moon over Council Grove Lake

At the start in Council Grove

Mike & Nancy Myers

Spencer & Terry passing a historic school house

Bridge construction

Railroad bridge

Pavement Ends (Not really)

Passing under another rail bridge

The long & winding road

Bazaar cemetery & school

Spencer chasing a train

Cassoday, Prairie Chicken Capital of the World

Motorized bike with its owner and Spencer  in Cassoday

Former railroad bunkhouse

South Fork (ranch?)

Cottonwood Falls

Strong City church

Mashed O Ranch

Division Ranch

Back in Council Grove

Hays House in Council Grove